We’ve been talking about tech, our country, and our capabilities in starting startups. Now let’s look at something common to small, new companies and large, established ones alike. Software Developer Talent.
First of all who are the “seniors” and what makes them senior? While this was a PinoyJUG mailing list discussion on junior Java developers, it’s not limited to that skill set. The different criteria discussed were: tenure, technical skills (but are they all applicable?), talent, salary, maturity, and even political skills.
Once we have defined who the seniors are, are they available for hiring? Or did they move abroad? What does it take to get them back? There is current discussion on how Philippines-based companies are now boosting salaries to never-heard-before levels to attract or retain talent.
Of course, keeping talent is not just about salary. Pay is just 1/3 of Joel’s Criteria for Geek Job Satisfaction. Then Gabusch adds tips on keeping creative people happy. I had some thoughts on it as well comparing the developer situation in the Philippines and abroad (within my limited experience of course.)
There is seniority in terms of age. There was a discussion about the maximum age posted in local job ads, and postings for in other Asian countries. It seems that this is ageism is common in Asian work cultures, even as it’s illegal in US (and probably elsewhere.) I suspect this is because Asians are not comfortable with working with older or younger people as their peers. The younger people would look at an older person as someone who should be more senior to them in the organization. The older people would feel insecure that they are at the same level as younger people. But then again, it could also be due to the higher salaries that older people would get, or perceived higher costs and lower productivity.
What are the positions for senior developers outside of a traditional organization? There has been a discussion on PinoyJUG and a parallel one in PLUG (Philippine Linux Users Group) regarding the proper salary for a telecommuting US job. The most important point has been: should the candidate ask for a higher salary, since the US employer is expecting to spend, and to keep up the price expectations for Filipino developers? Or should the candidate avoid this “‘entitlement”‘ and ask for what they would normally want or need if it were a local company hiring. This has our country’s outsourcing competitiveness in mind – at least price-wise.